Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Devine Devotionals


Another amazing week has come and gone. I've heard some amazing speakers and learned a lot form their teachings. I must say, my parable of the 10 missionaries proved itself useful last Tuesday. Elder Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke to us on the basic principles of the Restored Gospel. He reminded me of the simplicity of the Gospel. I love hearing apostles speak because I always feel strongly that God really does love his children and has blessed our lives with a church modeled after Christ's church. Sunday night we were blessed to hear from Sister Susan Easton Black. She knows more about the prophet Joseph Smith than anyone else I've ever met. Hearing her speak reminded me of religion classes at BYU. Although these classes had difficult tests, I forgot how much I actually enjoyed these types of lectures. It was nice to hear about Joseph Smith's life leading up to the First Vision. Like most good professors, she ended when we were still eager to hear more.

In less exciting news, our district was a little sad to see the native speaking district leave. They entered the same day as us, but were only in the MTC for three weeks. I will miss the opportunity to practice my Spanish.

We also have begun to challenge ourselves by speaking "solamente en Espanol." We do this during specific class periods. If someone speaks in English they get a yellow card. If they speak in English a second time they get a red card and have to bring candy for the entire class the next day. Yesterday, four red cards were passed out. Fortunately, I have yet to receive so much as a yellow card.

Please let anyone that wishes to write me know that DearElder or snailmail is currently superior to email because it is free and I can read them during the week. This gives allows me to use my thirty minutes of email time for more writing and less reading.

A little about P-day... P-day begins at 6:30 AM like another day. We get up, do some personal study, grab breakfast, study more, then attend the temple at 10 AM. We then return to the campus for lunch, laundry and letter writing. At 5:15 P-day ends with choir practice. Finally, at 7 we conclude the day with a devotional from someone such as Elder Perry or another well known member of the church. It's amazing how fast this day goes. We use every minute. It really is a day of preparation though. It enables us to go through the other six days without having to worry about things like laundry.

I hope all is well and feel blessed to be serving at this time. I know that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing at this time. I'm anxious to enter the field and begin applying all of the things they teach us at the MTC. Love you all.


Elder Badger

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Time's a Flyin'

Greetings from the MTC,

Another week already. This week I've been blessed with the opportunity to sing in the MTC choir. I'm not sure it's my companion Elder Louk's favorite activity, but I drag him along anyway. I have to help him to sing in tune; fortunately, he needs less help each time we practice. There are benefits to the choir, all of which can be explained in a parable I've written. This is how I've convinced Elder Louk that choir is a good thing.

Once there were ten missionaries in the MTC. There were five always ready, always smart, always make-the-Elders-pale-in-comparison Sister Missionaries. There were also ive Elders who... well.... when compared to the Sisters they were paled (what a weird phrase anyway). The sisters, knowing that general authorities frequently speak at the MTC firesides were prepared with note cards, scriptures, "Preach My Gospel", and spots in the choir. As the hour of the fireside drew near the sisters took their place in the choir near the general authorities. The five elders being unprepared, sauntered in with only their scriptures. Unfortunately, the auditorium was full and the five unwise elders were forced to watch from the overflow.

As you can see, this parable would make an effective teaching tool. I'm even considering adapting it to teach a gospel principle, maybe about the Savior's coming. What do you think?

In other news, my Spanish is progressing. I find it to be much easier if I don't think about it as much and just open my mouth (imagine that). I find reading the Book of Mormon to be very helpful as I am able to accurately translate much of what is being said. It is way different to learn Spanish in the MTC when compared to high school. Any word is fair game. My limited vocabulary is frustrating for someone as verbally inclined as myself.

About my district... My district is amazing. We have 8 Elders and 4 Hermanas. Our district includes quite a few missions. We have two going to San Jose, Elder Louk and myself, and three going to the same mission in Chile. The rest are going to far flung places such as Guatemala, Honduras, and Montreal. The rest of my zone is comprised of Advanced districts, which is made up of native speakers that only stay in the MTC for 3 weeks. The rest are intermediate missionaries like myself.

Our teachers: Our favorite teacher is Hermano Vasquez. He is a five foot nothing Honduran that has the best accent we have ever heard. I tried to explain to him what a badger was, even using the Spanish word, Tejón, to help. The nearest I can come to explaining it is a cross between a large black and white squirrel without a big tail and a skunk. Even better is the way he pronounces it. Our favorite thing for him to say in English is. "Jolly Rancher, Badger!" which sounds more like "Holy ransher Bashjer!" I wish I could say more, but we only get a half hour on the computer. I also wish I could send pictures, but the computers here won't let you even if you have a cable.

Buena Suerte,

Elder Badger

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"MTC Four Square is Cut-Throat"

Hola mi familia,

First off, you wouldn't believe how competitive the four square is at this place. It's the nearest thing to tennis at the MTC, but we play like its Wimbledon.

You wouldn't believe the week I've been having. This week reminds me of something Brother Bott said in my mission prep class at BYU. He said, "The mission is equivalent to 50 years of regular life. The highs are higher and the lows are lower." Already, I feel as if I've spent a month in the MTC. It's a little bit of an adjustment because your whole day is entirely planned out for you. Despite the rigid schedule, they encourage you to plan as a zone to plan what you plan as a district to plan what you do as a companionship to plan what you do as a missionary. Needless to say, it leaves little time to do the things you actually plan to do. I joke a little because Elder Louk and I have had no trouble meeting our commitments and goals despite all of the planning.

My Spanish is progressing rapidly, which is very good because I have been placed in an intermediate Spanish district. Our sacrament meeting is entirely in Spanish. Fortunately, Elder Louk and I are working hard and helping each other a lot. Our district has a goal to speak entirely in Spanish by February 1st. I think we can do it. I have already begun to pray in Spanish; I find it to be very difficult, but helpful.

I just got your letters yesterday. It was nice to here from guys. I expected Mom to have a few questions. I'll answer them briefly in the order she asked them. No we aren't full time Spanish yet. I've run into a few people I know, such as Elder Albright and a girl I know from school. My companion is named Elder Louk. He went to BYU-I this fall. He's from Chicago and he's turning 19 in February. We're both working hard to be obedient and grow spiritually. He helps me a lot with my Spanish and I help him to stay on task and focus which is something we both need since we both like to talk a lot. I'm decent at interpreting written texts, but need to relearn how to conjugate. Last night we struggled with por vs. para. No one understood what Hermano Vasques meant.

More about our teachers... We have two teachers, a Hermano Anderson and a Hermano Vasquez. Both served in Guatemala, but Hermano Anderson is from St. Louis and Hermano Vasquez is from Honduras. Learning from a native speaker is very helpful. Both teachers are amazing and can talk a million miles a minute. This helps my interpreting skills a lot. Hermano Vasquez talks the fastest and reminds me of my friend Luis from BYU.

Anyway, I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve in the San Jose Mission. I'm eager to begin teaching a gospel I know to be true and desire all of the help from the Lord he is willing to give me. I'm grateful for the healing power of the atonement and its ability to change lives. I feel blessed to be one of the few people on this Earth teaching the true word of God. I hope that I can serve diligently and be an instrument in God's hands.

Con Amor,

Elder Badger

P.S. If anyone would like to dearelder me Spanish letter I would appreciate the opportunity to practice writing in Spanish.